Six Charged in Ohio with Operating an Illegal Gambling Business and Other Related Offenses
The Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today that Reece Powers II, the former co-owner of R&J Partnership Ltd. doing business as Reece’s Las Vegas Supply (RLVS), a gambling supplies store located in Dayton, Ohio, was charged with illegal gambling, tax fraud and obstruction-of-justice-related offenses in an eight-count indictment unsealed today. Other defendants charged in the indictment are Douglas A. Sanders, Jason S. Pulaski, Michael E. Gedeon, Jennifer Williams and Walter F. Dyer.
The indictment, which was returned on Sept. 24, 2013, was unsealed following the arrests of Powers, Pulaski, Gedeon, Williams and Dyer. All six defendants were charged with one count each of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, and one count each of operating an illegal gambling business. Additionally, Powers was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding and impairing the lawful functions of the IRS, and one count of witness tampering. Furthermore, Pulaski, Gedeon, Williams and Dyer were each charged with one count of obstruction of justice.
According to the indictment, between February 2004 and May 2011, Powers oversaw the recruitment of local charitable organizations to sponsor casino-like card games, such as Texas Hold’Em poker tournaments and live-action poker games (poker fundraisers), that were exempted from the general prohibition against games of chance under then-existing Ohio laws. The indictment alleges that Powers skimmed a portion of the money received from the poker fundraisers while providing false accountings of the money generated to the charitable organizations that they were meant to benefit. The indictment further alleges that Sanders, Pulaski, Gedeon, Williams, Dyer and other co-conspirators who worked as card dealers, cashiers, chip sellers, pit bosses, tournament directors and managers, received compensation for their roles in conducting the poker fundraisers in violation of Ohio law, at Powers’ direction. The indictment further alleges that each of the defendants claimed that they were uncompensated volunteers and that several of them deliberately misled investigators of the State of Ohio’s Attorney General’s Office and the IRS during the investigation.
According to the indictment, Powers further conspired with another individual to sell RLVS and its associated real estate so that it appeared as if the business was sold for an amount less than its actual sale price, in an effort by Powers to evade the payment of taxes. According to the indictment, Dyer, Pulaski, Gedeon, and Williams further committed obstruction of justice by testifying falsely before a federal grand jury investigating the poker scheme. Additionally, Powers is charged with tampering with a witness by allegedly instructing the witness to testify falsely to the federal grand jury.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. District Judge Timothy Black for the Southern District of Ohio will be presiding over the case after the arraignment of the defendants. If convicted, Powers faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, and five years of supervised release. If convicted, Pulaski, Gedeon, Williams and Dyer each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $750,000 and three years of supervised release. If convicted, Sanders faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $500,000 and three years of supervised release.
This case was investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jorge Almonte and Stephen Descano of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/ .